Johana Tirado: Staff

Johana Tirado: Staff Photo

Tell us a little about yourself:

I’m Johana Tirado, also known as Jojo. This nickname has a really long story behind it. About ten years ago, I was in an accident where I lost my entire memory. I even had to re-learn to speak, and to help me the nurses called me Jojo. I’ll tell you more about the accident in a little bit.

What do you do at the college?

I answer the phone for the entire college, give information, and transfer you to the person you need to talk to. I really enjoy it. After COVID, a lot of the calls I got were from students who just wanted to talk to somebody - a lot of them were living by themselves or away from family and I’m glad I was here to help them.

How does your job help students meet their goals?

I help students by connecting them with the person or department they need to talk to. Since COVID hit, I feel many people (not just students) were happy that there was someone here to answer their questions or just to have someone listen to their complaints or concerns. A lot of people have helped me in the last ten years, and I am so happy to pass that on.

What makes you passionate about what you do for students?

I love to be able to help in any way I can. I know nowadays it can be difficult to get a hold of someone on campus, or even over emails, so I try to make the connection for them and will not stop until I get their answers.

What’s your favorite part about working at GHC?

Helping students. Learning and working with others is also a passion of mine, but I especially love the department where I work (the Welcome Center). They are always willing to help and offer a smile.

What advice do you have for students?

Don’t ever let somebody tell you that you can’t do something. Follow your dreams, because it is never too late to reach your goals. I had to start over from zero, and people here have helped me start pursuing my dreams again.

What do you wish students knew about?

I want students to know that I will do everything in my power to help them and that I am always here for them. Everyone at GHC will help you finish or start your degree at a fraction of what it will cost you at a 4-year university.

Are you a GHC alum?

No, but I am a current student! About ten years ago, I had an accident where I lost every memory I’d ever made. I even had to re-learn English and Spanish. Because I lived in Canada, and my family lived in  Mazatlán, Mexico, I was truly alone except for my doctors and nurses. They helped me find my family through Facebook, actually. My doctors sent them a letter explaining my condition because of course I didn’t know the login or password. We didn’t know if it was going to work, but it did and after two months they unlocked my account.

I spent a whole year in the hospital and was scared to leave, because it was my whole life. I just met my family for the first time five years ago. I knew they were my parents, but because I had no memory of them, it was terrifying. Now I talk to them often. I also married my childhood friend, even though I don’t actually remember our childhoods.

Working with GHC and listening to the students made me feel like I have enough support to be able to go through college again. Right now, my main goal is to get an Associate’s degree in Human Services. From there, we’ll see!

If so, can you share something awesome about your experience as a student?

It has been a few minutes since I last attended school and it was really scary just to enroll not knowing if I would be able to succeed. However, I’ve had nothing but the best support from GHC staff, and everyone has always been willing to lend a hand and reassure me that I’m not alone.

What do you do when you’re not working at GHC?  

I love baking, cooking, watching marvel Movies (Iron Man!) but especially love spending time with my husband and my fur baby Lobito. My husband Tony also works here at the College.

If a student needs help with something in your area, how can they get in touch with you and your colleagues?

You can reach me at (360) 538-4100 or via email at Tuesdays to Thursdays from 9am - 3 pm.